Designing for a Better User Experience
9th June 2011 / Design
User Experience Design is something we as designers hear thrown about all the time. But what does it mean?
It encompasses how a user interacts with your website and how they feel when using, their experience of it. It takes into consideration how efficient your website is at performing tasks, how users use the interface and its ease of use. I mean, if you need a guide on how to use your website it’s not gonna be scoring usability points anytime soon.
So, we’ve created a list of guidelines (not rules!) about how you could give your users a better experience when using your site.
Let’s start with the Navigation
First and foremost, keep your navigation consistant. This goes for the positioning on the page and the styling. It’s also useful to style your links to let users know whereabouts they are on your website, so add some subtle styling to your active and hover states. If you have a lot of content in your website you should consider using breadcrumb navigation.
When I want to go back to the home page of a website it’s second-nature to click the company logo, so make sure your logo redirects back to your home page. Positioning-wise, your logo is usually best off at the top-left of your webpages, as the eye will go there first, giving your site an instant identity.
Speed Up Your Site
Make Content Easy to Find
Users want to find what they’re looking for almost instantly after landing on your site and usually won’t waste much time searching through different pages to find it. Having a search bar available on your website is too often over-looked, but invaluable for a good user experience. A common trend on the web these days is using a tag cloud, which allows users to find posts related to the tag they choose.
Make sure you have your contact details in every page of your site. You don’t need to include your full address, fax and telephone numbers, but even an email address in your footer would suffice. This is should be accompanied by a link in your main navigation to your separate contact page that includes more details and better yet, a simple contact form.
Keep it Consistant
Keep a consistent layout, colors and typography throughout the whole site. You want the user to remember your site and not only find it easy to navigate through, but enjoy using your website.
Make Use of Your Footer
Provide your user with another way of finding content by adding navigational links to your footer. This is save them from scrolling back to the top of your website to move to another section. Include a site map so users can see where all your content is and be sure to include links to your social networking accounts there too! A simple contact form is a great feature to include in your footer too.